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Sicilain Pasta alla Norma
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Sicilian Pasta alla Norma

Course Main Course, Main Dishes and Wine Pairings
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Sicilian Pasta alla Norma
Servings 4
Author adapted from "Six Seasons" Joshua McFadden

Ingredients

  • 2 medium globe eggplants ( about 1-1/2 lbs total) cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds, each cut across to make 1-inch square pieces
  • kosher sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 lb. Italian mild sausage, bulk or casings removed
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half if large
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Piment d' Espelette
  • 1 lb. rigatoni
  • 1 cup Parmesan, finely grated

Instructions

  • Put the eggplant pieces in a colander and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of kosher sea salt. Toss. Set aside for 1-2 hours, this will draw out the excess moisture. When you are ready to sauté the eggplant, spread the pieces out on a tea towel or paper towel and blot off the moisture and salt. Give them a gentle squeeze to remove any remaining moisture.
  • Heat 1-2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes or just when it starts to turn a light golden color.
  • Add the Italian sausage to the pan, breaking it up into small pieces as the the meat browns. When the meat is browned, remove the sausage with a slotted spoon.
  • If the pan looks dry, add another 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the eggplant pieces in a single layer (this will take several batches to cook). Sauté the eggplant stirring and tossing to brown all the sides. Cook until they are golden and tender, about 8-10 minutes per batch.
  • Add the tomatoes, oregano, and Piment d' Espelette, salt and pepper. Sauté stirring until the tomatoes start to break down and a juicy sauce develops. Add the browned sausage back to the pan and stir to combine.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2-3 good pinches of salt. Add the rigatoni and cook 1 minute less than what the package recommends. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the eggplant mixture. Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes to combine. Add half of the parmesan cheese and stir. If the mixture is too dry stir in a little pasta water.
  • Serve with remaining parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.